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Progress Update - May 2020

We have completed the writing of the Draft Sutton Neighbourhood Plan document. Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC), have carried out a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) screening and consulted with the Environment Agency, Natural England and Historic England - the SEA screening report will soon be on our web site and can also be found on the CBC web site under Neighbourhood Planning. Sutton Parish Council has approved our Draft Neighbourhood Plan document for public consultation. We had hoped to commence public consultation by now (our plan was to start just after Easter), but the current Covid-19 restrictions mean that we cannot commence our public consultation just yet. In the meantime, we are taking the opportunity to tidy up and refine some of the supporting documents. Please watch this space, we hope to commence the formal public 6-week (Regulation 14) consultation as soon as we are permitted, we hope this will be sometime in June, or July at the latest, but it is dependent upon the Coronavirus restrictions. As part of this (Regulation 14) consultation, we will be asking residents, businesses and land-owners in Sutton (as well as a long list of statutory consultees, including CBC, Natural England, Historic England and the Environment Agency) to comment on the document, the policies within it and propose any changes they feel should be made. Further details will be communicated in due course. Finally, we had planned to hold our public referendum in late 2020, however, under the Coronavirus Act 2020 no elections or referendums can now take place until 6 May 2021 at the earliest, so we are now targeting that date. It should be noted, however, that once we have completed both: (i) our public consultations and (ii) the plan has completed examination by an Inspector, CBC will then be expected to give significant weight to our Neighbourhood Plan in making any planning decisions affecting Sutton until such time as the referendum can be held and (hopefully) the Plan formally adopted, so it is still important that we progress as quickly as we are able.

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